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Measuring the World


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Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann is out in paperback at 12 euros.

At the end of the 18th century, two brilliant and eccentric young scientists set out to measure the world. Alexander von Humboldt swashbuckled his way across the globe, navigating ocean and jungle, eating with cannibals, swimming with electric eels, lowering himself into volcanoes and scaling the highest mountain known to man.

Carl Friedrich Gauss, on the other hand, stayed at home using the power of thought to battle his way into exotic mathematical realms and the landmark realisation that space is curved.

Very readable and slyly humorous, Measuring the World bends time and space to bring these two enlightenment geniuses to life.

This is a gem of a novel which informs and entertains in a sophisticated and absorbing way, without being an obvious run of the mill novel about explorers.